Farmers in southern New Mexico are being warned about using rain runoff from a series of recent thunderstorms that have passed over the Black Range.
The Silver Fire, the largest currently burning in New Mexico, has blackened more than 214 square miles of the range, prompting concerns about post-fire flooding.
The manager of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, Gary Esslinger, says some ash-laden runoff has already made its way into the district's canals.
He says the ash can cause problems with the farmers' drip irrigation systems as well as filtration units at municipal surface water treatment plants.
While farmers have been surviving on just a fraction of their normal irrigation allotments due to the drought, Esslinger says the district is telling them to use the runoff at their own risk.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.